Basketball: Adams relaxed about future team's city

By Kris Shannon

Despite the 76ers' head coaching role being currently vacant, Adams welcomed the possibility of heading back to Pennsylvania, where he spent one year in college. Photo / Getty Images
Despite the 76ers' head coaching role being currently vacant, Adams welcomed the possibility of heading back to Pennsylvania, where he spent one year in college. Photo / Getty Images

After running the rule over his prospective new home towns, Steven Adams was keeping quiet about just where he would like to take his talents.

Adams will become just the second New Zealander selected in the NBA Draft in New York today, where he will appear on stage and don the cap of the franchise which calls his name.

The 2.1m centre is widely considered to be a mid-to-late lottery pick (top 14), and a number of teams are said to be interested in drafting him.

With such uncertainty over where he will end up, Adams was reluctant to play favourites at yesterday's draft media day and said he would be happy no matter where he was made to move.

"I'm just enjoying right now," the 19-year-old said. "All of [the teams] I like, because I went to all the different cities and they're all really unique."

Adams did reveal he had an idea of his ideal destinations but, when pressed, he shrugged his shoulders and laughed. He did, however, express a fondness for Portland, with the Pacific Northwest city reminding him of Wellington, where Adams called home until enrolling at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Portland Trailblazers are thought to be one team considering acquiring Adams, who could very well still be on the board when they pick at No 10.

If the Trailblazers pass up the opportunity, Philadelphia, choosing next, have been heavily linked due to their dearth of big men.

Despite the 76ers' head coaching role being currently vacant, Adams welcomed the possibility of heading back to Pennsylvania, where he spent one year in college.

"To a degree, yes," he said when asked whether the coaching uncertainty concerned him. "But then I'm also new to the whole thing so I don't know any different. It'll be fine. I guess that's just like the business of the NBA and you've got to get used to it. Some dudes have like 17 different head coaches - it's crazy.

"[The city] was pretty good - it was just another work out. They didn't have their coaching staff at training at the time, so they got in some dudes for the work out. But other than that, it was a good city. It was like Pittsburgh and really close."

Oklahoma City, picking at No 12, would be the perfect destination for Adams in terms of on-the-court prospects.

With Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, both 24, and among the best players in the league, the Thunder possess a young and talented nucleus which is likely to still be in place by the time Adams is ready to contribute at NBA level.

But the Thunder, who lost in the conference semifinals this season but earned the draft spot in a trade, are rumoured to be shopping the pick, leaving Adams probably headed to a non-playoff team.

Wherever he goes, Adams knows the New Zealand sporting public will be watching with keen interest, a prospect with which he is content - but one that is preferably for a limited time only.

"I wouldn't mind being the face of basketball [in New Zealand] until someone comes along and then takes over," he said.

"All I'm trying to do is make sure that people know that in New Zealand we've got some basketball players, and then they get some exposure.

"And that's the whole thing for New Zealand basketball to move forward - that athletes down there have another path to take, apart from rugby. Just that they have another path - whether they want to do academics or anything like that."

- APNZ

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